Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski says his "numbers are better than ever" and that at 33 he believes he can play at the top for "at least another four years".
Lewandowski"s double against Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday took his tally for 2021/22 to eight in five competitive games, meaning he has found the target in his last 18 consecutive outings.
In addition to breaking Gerd Müller"s single-season Bundesliga goal haul last term by netting 41 times, the Polish marksman has consistently been by far and away the most lethal forward in the game for the last couple of years.
He has registered 112 goals in all competitions for Bayern since the start of the 2019/20 campaign, more than any other striker in Europe's top five leagues across that period. By way of comparison, Kylian Mbappe and Cristiano Ronaldo are next on that list with 76, followed by Erling Haaland (74) and Lionel Messi (69).
"I feel like I'm 25 or 26," Lewandowski told SportBild. "My numbers now at age 33 are better than ever. Not just in terms of fitness; every metric out on the pitch is better than it's ever been in my career. After a four-week break over the summer, going into pre-season I had a better foundation than I've ever had in my career. Thirty-three is just a number. For me, it doesn't show how old I really am."
And while Lewandowski is at an age when players traditionally call time on their careers, their bodies no longer able to cope with the exacting demands of elite-level football, the Bayern hitman insists he is entertaining no such thoughts.
Watch: All of Lewandowski's Bundesliga goals this season
"I can still play for many more years," he said. "I'm physically fit and I've got the right mentality, too. Maybe I can raise the bar a bit more. I’m certain that I can keep playing for at least four more years. After that we'll see how I'm feeling and how long my career can last."
The prospect of facing a red-hot Lewandowski for several more seasons will be a terrifying one for defenders across the continent – even more so considering he believes he can get even better.
"At the start of every season I think about what I can improve, what else I can do. I hope I can go in the right direction and reach the next level. I don’t mean whether or not I score five goals more or fewer; the way I play is more important.
Watch: Check out Lewandowski's dummy in the build-up to Müller's goal against Hertha!
"There are other things I can do on the pitch aside from score goals and take shots. I want to bring my teammates into the game, link up with them.
"For me, that’s the next level, just like I did against Hertha Berlin [on Matchday 3] when I dummied a pass so that Thomas [Müller] could score behind me. But don't worry, scoring goals is still very important to me!"